• After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the company rule was brought to an end, but the British India along with princely states came under the direct rule of the British Crown.
  • The Government of India Act 1858 created the office of Secretary of State for India in 1858 to oversee the affairs of India, which was advised by a new Council of India with 15 members (based in London).
    • The existing Council of Four was formally renamed as the Council of Governor-General of India or Executive Council of India. The Council of India was later abolished by Government of India Act 1935.
  • Following the adoption of the Government of India Act of 1858, the Governor-General representing the Crown became known as the Viceroy.
    • The designation ‘Viceroy’, although it was most frequently used in ordinary parlance, had no statutory authority, and was never employed by Parliament.
  • Although the Proclamation of 1858 announcing the assumption of the government of India by the Crown referred to Lord Canning as “first Viceroy and Governor-General”, none of the Warrants appointing his successors referred to them as ‘Viceroys’, and the title, which was frequently used in Warrants dealing with precedence and in public notifications, was one of ceremony used in connection with the state and social functions of the Sovereign’s representative.
    • The Governor-General continued to be the sole representative of the Crown, and the Government of India continued to be vested in the appointments of Governor-General of India which were made by the British Crown upon the advice of Secretary of State for India.

List of Viceroys in India

ViceroyTenureAchievement & Events
Lord Canning1858-1862Queen Victoria’s Proclamation (on 1 November 1858) and The Government of India Act, 1858

System of Budget was introduced

Formation of Imperial Civil Services

Indigo Revolt in Bengal in 1859–60

White mutiny by the European troops in 1859

Enactment of Indian Penal Code in 1860

Indian High Courts Act 1861

Indian Councils Act, 1861

Indian Civil Service Act, 1861

Police Act, 1861

Abolished doctrine of lapse

Establishment of Archaeological Survey of India in 1861

Introduced Portfolio System which gave foundation for Cabinet System
Lord Elgin1862 – 1863Establishment of Calcutta High Court (2 July), Bombay High Court (14 August) and Madras High Court (15 August) in 1862

Wahabi movement suppressed
Lord Lawrence1864 – 1869Bhutan War (1864–65) (The British defeated an undefended Bhutan and annexed Assam and Bengal Duars)

Establishment of Shimla as India’s summer capital in 1864

The Tabernacle of New Dispensation, a new Church established by Keshub Chandra Sen

Establishment of Allahabad High Court in 1866

Famine Commission was constituted in 1867 under Henry Campbell due to Orissa famine of 1866

Tenancy Act was passed in Punjab and Oudh in 1868
Lord Mayo1869 – 1872Assassinated by a Pathan Sher Ali Afridi in 1872

Started the Census in India in 1872

Opening of Rajkumar college in Rajkot and Mayo College at Ajmer for political training of Indian Princes

Keshub Chandra Sen establishes Indian Reform Association (1870)

Started Financial decentralization in 1870 (Financial Distribution between centre and state introduced for the first time)

Enacted IPC amendment-Sedition Act 1870 to tackle Wahabi Movement

He established the Department of Agriculture & Commerce in 1872

Established Statistical Survey of India in 1872
Lord Northbrook1872 – 1876Jyotiba Phule launches The Satyashodhak Samaj in Maharashtra in 1873 against the caste system and Untouchability.

Dramatic Performances Act, 1876

He suppressed Kuka rebellion in Punjab led by Ram Singh in 1872

Trial of Gaekwad of Baroda in 1874

Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College founded by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1875)

Prince of Wales Edward VII visited India in 1875

Civil Marriage and Arya Samaj marriage introduced

Universal Marriage Act introduced in 1872

Intercaste Marriage allowed

He resigned in 1876, being asked by the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli to make a treaty with Emir of Afghanistan Sher Ali Khan
Lord Lytton1876 – 1880Royal Titles Act, 1876 by which Queen Victoria assumed the title of ‘Empress of India’

1st Delhi Durbar (out of 3) in 1877

Great Famine of 1876–1878 and a Famine Commission was constituted under Richard Strachey in 1878

Vernacular Press Act, 1878

Arms Act, 1878

Decreased the maximum age of appearing in civil services from 21 to 19

Second Anglo-Afghan War, (1878–80)

Treaty of Gandamak signed in 1879
Lord Ripon1880 – 1884First Factory Act (1881)

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881

Repeal of the Vernacular Press Act in 1882

Ilbert Bill (1883)

Establishment of Panjab University in 1882

Government resolution on local self-government (1882)

Appointment of Education Commission under Sir William Wilson Hunter in 1882

First complete Census in India in 1881

He passed Famine codes in 1883

Increased the maximum age of appearing in civil services from 18 to 21
Lord Dufferin1884 – 1888Formation of Indian National Congress (1885)

Bengal Tenancy Act (1885)

Third Anglo-Burmese War (1885)

In 1886, Burma was made a province of India, with Rangoon as its capital
Lord Lansdowne1888 – 1894Age of Consent Act, 1891 was passed to prohibit the marriages of girl child under the age of 12

Indian Council Act 1892

Second Factory Act 1891

Setting up of Durand Commission in 1893 (India-Afghanistan)
Lord Elgin II1894 – 1899Indian famine of 1896–1897

Spread of Bubonic plague in Bombay (1896)

Establishment of Ramakrishna Mission by Swami Vivekananda at Belur Math in 1897

Assassination of two British officials (Walter Charles Rand and Ayerst) by the Chapekar brothers in 1897
Lord Curzon1899 – 1905Indian famine of 1899–1900 (MacDonnell Commission was constituted under the presidency of Sir Anthony MacDonnell)

Munda (Ulgulan) rebellion led by Birsa Munda in 1899–1900

Department of Agriculture was constituted in 1901

Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa in Bihar was established in 1905

Partition of Bengal (1905)

Appointment of Raleigh University Commission (1902) (Indian Universities Act, 1904 was passed as per the recommendation of this commission)

Ancient Monuments Preservation Act 1904

Official Secrets Act 1904 to curb free press

Second Delhi Durbar (out of 3) in 1903

Appointment of Police Commission under Sir Andrew Frazer in 1902
Creation of North-West Frontier Province in 1901

Swadeshi Movement (1905–1911) against Partition of Bengal by Lal Bal Pal-Aurbindo Ghosh)

Benaras Hindu Girls School (Kanya Vidyalaya) was established by Annie Besant in 1904

Younghusband expedition to Tibet under Francis Younghusband in 1903–04
Lord Minto II1905 – 1910Morley–Minto reforms 1909, or the Indian Councils Act 1909

Split in Congress in 1907 (in Surat session)

Satyendra Prasanna Sinha became first Indian member to be appointed in Viceroy’s Executive Council

Seditious meetings (prohibition) Act 1907 to curb the extremist movement

Establishment of Muslim League by Aga Khan III and Khwaja Salimullah (Nawab of Dhaka) in 1906

Foundation of Jugantar revolutionary group in Bengal (1906)

Indian Press Act, 1910

Jamsetji Tata established TISCO in 1907

foundation stone of ‘Victoria Memorial’ laid in 1906

Newspapers Act 1908
Lord Hardinge II1910 – 1916Third Delhi Durbar (1911)

Annulment of Partition of Bengal by King George V in 1911

Transfer of capital from Calcutta to Delhi (1911)

Partition of Bengal to form Bihar and Orissa province (1912)

World War I (1914–18)

Komagata Maru incident (1914)

McMahon border line was created between India and China in 1914

Ghadar Mutiny (1915)

Mahatma Gandhi came back to India from South Africa in 1915

Foundation of Hindu Mahasabha by Madan Mohan Malviya (1915)

Foundation of Banaras Hindu University in 1916
Lord Chelmsford1916 – 1921Formation of Indian Home Rule movement by Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Annie Besant (1916)

First Women’s University (SNDT Women’s University) at Pune was founded by Dhondo Keshav Karve (1916)

Lucknow Pact (1916) (between Indian National Congress and Muslim League)

Champaran Satyagraha (1917), the first satyagraha movement led by Mahatma Gandhi in British India

August Declaration, 1917

Saddler University Commission or Calcutta Commission (1917)

Kheda Satyagraha of 1918

Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms (1919)

Government of India Act 1919

Rowlatt Act (1919)

Jallianwala Bagh massacre (1919)

Khilafat Movement (1919–20) (later merged with Non-cooperation movement in 1920)

Non-cooperation movement (1920–22)

Foundation of Aligarh Muslim University in 1920

Imperial Bank of India (now State Bank of India established in 1921)
Lord Reading1921 – 1926Malabar rebellion (also known as Moplah Rebellion), first Ethnic Rebellion (1921)

Rabindranath Tagore founded Visva-Bharati University in 1921

Chauri Chaura incident (1922) and withdrawal of Non-cooperation movement by Mahatma Gandhi

Formation of Swaraj Party in 1923

Appointment of Lee Commission in 1923 on public services reforms

Railway budget was separated from general budget since 1924 (this tradition continued till 2016)

Kakori train robbery in 1925

Foundation of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh by K. B. Hedgewar in 1925

Foundation of the Communist Party of India in Kanpur in 1925

Annulment of Indian Press Act of 1910 and Rowlatt Act of 1919
Lord Irwin1926 – 1931Simon Commission (1928)

Nehru Report (1928)

Death of Lala Lajpat Rai (1928)

Fourteen Points of Jinnah (1929)

Purna Swaraj declaration (1929)

Meerut Conspiracy Case (1929)

Bombing in Central Legislative Assembly on 8 April 1929 by Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt

“Deepavali Declaration” on 31 October 1929 (to grant India dominion status in due course)

Appointment of “Hartog Committee” (1929) to survey the growth of education in British India

Launching of Civil disobedience movement with Salt March (1930)

Dharasana Satyagraha (1930)

First Round Table Conferences (1930)

Allahabad Address by Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1930)

Chittagong armoury raid in 1930

Gandhi–Irwin Pact (1931)

Execution of Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru, and Sukhdev Thapar (1931)
Lord Willingdon1931 – 1936Second Round Table Conference (1931)

Announcement of Communal Award by Ramsay MacDonald (1932)

Poona Pact between Mahatma Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar in 1932

Third Round Table Conference (1932)

Pakistan Declaration (1933)

Foundation of Congress Socialist Party in 1934

Government of India Act 1935

Formation of All India Kisan Sabha in 1936

Reserve Bank of India established by passing The Reserve Bank of India Act 1934.
Lord Linlithgow1936 – 1943Indian provincial elections (1937)

Indian entry into World War II (1939)

Day of Deliverance (1939)

Formation of All India Forward Bloc (1939)

Lahore Resolution (1940)

August Offer (1940)

Cripps Mission (1942)

Formation of Indian Legion (1942)

Quit India Movement (1942)

Formation of Indian National Army (1942)

Great Bengal famine (1943)
Lord Wavell1943 – 1947C. R. formula (1944)

Simla Conference (1945) (The Wavell Plan was first presented at the Shimla Conference in 1945.)

WW II ended (1945)

Indian National Army (INA) trials in 1945-1946

Cabinet Mission (1946)

Direct Action Day (16 August 1946)

Interim Government was formed in 1946

Royal Indian Navy mutiny (1946)
Lord Mountbatten1947-48Indian Independence Act 1947 was passed on 18 July 1947.

Radclife Commission was appointed under the chairmanship of Cyril Radcliffe to demarcate the border line of Bengal Presidency and Punjab Province

Governor General of India Post-Independence, are as follows:

NameTermNotable events during their Tenure
Mountbatten1947-1948First Governor-General of Independent India
C Rajagopalachari1948-1950Last Governor-General of India, before the office was permanently abolished in 1950

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments